Bowen Rotary is working to achieve recognition for the hiking trails on Mt. Gardner under Section 56 of the Forest and Range Act of the Province of British Columbia.
The map of the Mount Gardner trails is available online at BowenTrails.ca. This guide shows many walks on Bowen Island. The mountain trails appear in Section 5. This is wilderness travel on a local mountain. If you are going to hike up there, please read the associated precautions.
In the winter of 2013, with proceeds from Operation Red Nose, Bowen Rotary challenged the local young people to tell us what they could do to make Bowen a better place. Student, Sophie Walters, wrote about people becoming lost when trying to hike the trails on Mount Gardner.
That year we discovered lots about those trails. Chuck Venhuizen, who regularly runs up and down those trails, talked about of the enormous amount of windfall that winter. With his help we contacted the Province. In June, a 5-man Fire Control crew of Recreation Sites and Trails BC spent two days on the hill working to clear those trails.
Bowen Rotary became aware that there were lots of hiking trails, old skid roads, deer trails, and other paths, many of which had the potential to lead the unwary walker astray. In the autumn of 2013, Rotary members walked all of the trails, most several times, mapping them with GPS and cataloguing all of the features, intersections, and signage. From this they made an accurate map of the trails that might be used for quality hiking. They found that there was a network of over 20 kilometres of excellent trails. There was also about two dozen intersections, sometimes with tracks that went nowhere.
In March of 2014 the Undercurrent researched and reported the progress of this project.
Section 56 of the Forest and Range Act
The staff at Recreation Sites and Trails BC have offered to provide recognition of the trails under Section 56 of the Forest and Range Act if the local community is prepared to sign a contract with them. Bowen Rotary is reorganizing itself to be able sign that contract on behalf of the community. To do this, the club has gone through the process of incorporation. The Rotary Club of Bowen Island sees its role as enabling and coordinating the local volunteers who will administer the contract. Currently, this is work-in-progress. If you are interested in participating, please contact the club, or Robert Ballantyne at 604.974.0815.
Mount Gardner Trails
This is a snapshot of the trails as plotted on Google Earth. It is here to show the scope of this project and is not meant to be a guide for hiking. Click to see this image full-size.
Caution to hikers and disclaimer
Hiking on Mount Gardner is wilderness travel. Always maintain careful situational awareness and stay on the approved trails. Also, except for the trails shown on the map, there are no other escape routes. Because of the steepness of the hill and the tree canopy, rescue is difficult.
Hikers are 100% responsible for their own safety and wellbeing. Going up the mountain requires knowledge and experience with mountain travel. Take all of the precautions including Ten Essential of Wilderness Travel recommended by North Shore Rescue. (That said, never risk starting a fire on Bowen Island!) These trails have been been researched, but mountain conditions change rapidly, and the Rotary Club of Bowen Island takes no responsibility for any misinformation about trail conditions or for travellers’ safety. Mountain travel requires knowledge, experience, and preparation for the unexpected including possible injury, weather changes and the possibility of spending the night on the hill. A cell phone is recommended even though coverage is spotty.